Can soda really cause you to gain weight?
It’s true that drinking soda can lead to weight gain. The sugary, empty calorie, caffeine loaded liquids do more harm than good and it has, long been known to add to many health problems like diabetes. Diet sodas can be just as dangerous. It would be highly irresponsible to preach the dangers of regular, sugary sodas without informing the public about the, just as deadly dangers, of artificially sweetened diet sodas.
While refined sugars and corn syrups in regular sodas can deplete your minerals and other nutrients, the artificial sweeteners in diet sodas do even more harm and there is plenty of research and lawsuits that prove it.
In the July 10, 2011 issue of the L.A. Times, an article reveals studies of the link between diet soda and weight gain. While conventional sugary sodas may lead to diseases like diabetes, as well as, some weight gain, it seems that diet soda can too.
Researchers discovered that people who drank diet sodas for a decade or more, gained more weight around the mid-section than those who refrained from drinking diet sodas and other diet drinks.
The study assessed about 474 elderly people from the “San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging”. It found that those who drank two or more diet sodas a day had waistline increases up to five times more than in non-drinkers. The results were announced at the “American Diabetes Association in San Diego”.
According to the researchers: “Data from this and other prospective studies suggest that the promotion of diet sodas as healthy alternatives may be ill-advised: they may be free of calories, but not of consequences.”
In studies with mice, researchers observed that artificial sweeteners stimulate cells in the pancreas to change insulin secretion and altering the pH in the gut. They can affect hunger-regulating cells in the brain. The diabetes prone mice that were exposed to aspartame for three months had higher blood sugar levels than those not exposed. Other previous studies have found similar results.
Dariush Mozaffarian, a Harvard Epidemiologist says: “Artificial sweeteners may be a good short-term option to bridge people away from refined sugars, but consuming moderate or high amounts long-term should be avoided as possible”.
According the “Wall Street Health Journal” article describing another study:” The new report from the Framingham study compared soft-drink consumption among nearly 9,000 middle-aged men and women. Overall, soda drinkers were at 48% higher risk for metabolic syndrome, a collection of health problems including being overweight, and having blood-sugar levels signaling diabetes risk. The risks of metabolic syndrome were about the same whether the soft drink was sugared or sugar-free. The study authors noted that the research doesn’t prove sodas cause health problems.”
It further says “…the data on diet soda have been mixed. One previous study showed a link between diet-soda consumption and weight gain in boys. Some research has suggested that artificial sweeteners may “condition” diet-soda drinkers to develop a preference for sweet, higher-calorie foods. Other studies have questioned whether the caramel content of both regular and diet soft drinks may play a role in insulin resistance.”
“A 2005 report from the University of Texas Health Science Center, which tracked data on 1,550 Mexican-American and non-Hispanic white American women aged 25 to 64. The study tracked the participants for seven or eight years, and found that of the 622 participants who were of normal weight at the beginning of the study, about a third became overweight or obese during the course of the investigation. Those participants who drank half a can of regular soda on a daily basis increased their risk of becoming obese by 26%, whereas those who drank the same amount of diet soda increased their risk of becoming obese by 36.5%. For those women who drank one to two cans of diet soda a day, their obesity risk rose to between 47% and 57%, respectively. The research showed that for each additional can of diet soda a woman drank per day, her risk of being overweight increased up by 65%, and her risk of obesity increased by 41%.”
Clearly, there is valid evidence to show that diet sodas lead to weight gain, as well as, the sugary sodas.
The results of an American Diabetes Association study also showed a link. “The results of their study showed that there is an association between the consumption of diet sodas and an increased incidence of diabetes and glucose levels in blood. The researchers concluded that their study suggested that aspartame consumption may in fact directly contribute to increased blood glucose levels, and may thus contribute to the associations observed between diet soda consumption and the risk of diabetes in humans.”
Since diet sodas can contain artificial sweeteners like Aspartame, Saccharin and others, they may set the body chemistry up for weight gain. According to Web MD, “When the researchers took a closer look at their data, they found that nearly all the obesity risk from soft drinks came from diet sodas.”
Some experts blame the weight gain on the drinkers. People may think that they can drink more diet sodas without gaining weight, simply because they are labeled, “diet”. However, they may very well be harming their health rather than gaining health.
According to an article in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, June 2010, examines the effects of artificial sweeteners on the human body. “Several large scale prospective cohort studies found positive correlation between artificial sweetener use and weight gain. Those findings suggest that the calories contained in natural sweeteners may trigger a response to keep the overall energy consumption constant.”
That “artificial sweeteners, precisely because they are sweet, encourage sugar craving and sugar dependence. Repeated exposure trains flavor preference.“
Evidence exists that artificial sweeteners may contribute to the prevalence of many cancers. Studies during the early 1970’s linked saccharin with bladder cancers. Foods containing saccharin were forced to label their products with a warning. “Use of this product may be hazardous to your health. This product contains saccharin, which has been determined to cause cancer in laboratory animals.”
Aspartame, its trade names, NutraSweet and Equal were found to cause cancer and other adverse effects in laboratory animals while a 2005 laboratory study found more cases of lymphomas and leukemia in rats that were fed high doses of Aspartame.
These are only some of the artificial sweeteners that diet drinks and sodas can contain. Sucralose is another dangerous sweetener, side effects that have been reported include dizziness, numbness, flushing, skin rashes, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems, urinary problems, anxiety and muscle aches. While refined sugar and corn syrup are almost as bad, they do not lead to as many health problems or diseases.
According to Dr. William Campbell Douglass, “Aspartame is responsible for more FDA complaints than any other food additive. Some of the side effects of aspartame include: headaches, including migraines, nausea, dizziness, anxiety attacks, depression, skin rashes and gastrointestinal problems.”
Dr. Douglass further says “Aspartame is known as an excitotoxin chemical that can lead to neurological diseases like Parkinson’s, MS, Lupus, Alzheimer’s and Fibromyalgia. This toxic chemical, causes an over excitement of the brain cells until they actually burn out and die. Continued consumption results in cumulative brain damage.”
That “Both US and European studies raise a serious formaldehyde concern. Once consumed, the wood alcohol in aspartame is converted to formaldehyde, which also has a cumulative effect and can cause damage to your immune and central nervous systems. The FDA feels the formaldehyde amounts are low enough and not a cause for concern. How comforting!”
After numerous studies, reported side effects and more, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), still allows these artificial chemicals on the market in food and drinks. Individuals would be wise to avoid these toxic, carcinogenic chemicals completely, but it’s not so easy because they are in many boxed and canned foods and drinks.
Replacing artificial sweeteners, refined sugars and corn syrups with fruit juice or honey is a healthier alternative. Perhaps in light of these numerous studies and findings, it would be best if everyone grew and cooked their own food or bought strictly all-natural or all-organic. The human body is a natural creation and it should be fed natural foods and liquids, not man-made chemicals that are processed with other toxic chemicals and literally bleached free of vitamins and minerals. No one really wants to be poisoned to death, slowly.